H-F’s Jazmin Rhodes nominated for national honors in musical theater

Jazmin Rhodes will be appearing in a musical revue in New York City when she competes for the Jimmy Award, a national prize presented to an outstanding high school student in musical theater.

Bryce Stewart as Bobby Strong and Jazmin Rhodes as Hope
Caldwell on stage in the Homewood-Flossmoor High production
of “Urinetown.” Both were nominated for best performer
honors in the Illinois High School Musical Theater Awards competition. (Provided photo)

Rhodes, a graduating senior at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, will be in New York City from June 14 through June 25 for a rigorous theatre intensive program, including coaching sessions, training and rehearsals led by some of Broadway’s most accomplished professionals.

“It’s going to be a really cool experience,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes got the chance to move into national competition after being selected the best performer in an actress role in the Broadway in Chicago Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards competition. Students from more than 80 schools across Illinois were entered, and the top 24 were judged in competition May 13 in Chicago. The win there gave Rhodes the chance to move up to the national competition and an opportunity to win a college scholarship.

To take the top prize in the Illinois contest, Rhodes and the other 23 students performed a song and dance routine. Three other H-F students — Stella Hoyt, Gabriel McKinney and Bryce Stewart — were also best performer nominees for the Illinois School Musical Theatre Awards. 

 For her individual performance, Rhodes sang “Follow Your Heart” from the musical “Urinetown.” She was shocked and taken aback by the best performer win, but she went back on stage to sing “Your Daddy’s Son” from “Ragtime” for the audience. She’d performed the piece for the H-F honors recital.

It was the second time Rhodes took the stage for the best actress honor. She was also among Illinois’ top 12 female performers in 2023. The night of the competition Rhodes told the Chronicle: “I’m really excited to be back and really grateful to have this kind of opportunity to showcase your talent on this level. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and to come back for a second year, I’m really grateful to be back.”

Rhodes’ high school years started out with remote learning due to the COVID pandemic. She remembers when students did return and the theater program production of the “Sponge Bob” musical was cut short due to COVID limitations.

With the return of a regular school year in 2022, Rhodes said she and her fellow students began performances again and she took lead roles in a number of H-F productions. In her junior and senior years, she received “all the accolades and successes I never thought I’d accomplish, so it’s a blessing and it was all really unexpected.”

This year Rhodes had one of the leading roles in the H-F production of “Urinetown” which won the best production award in the Broadway in Chicago Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards.

“This was one of my favorite shows. Everyone was so invested in it. All the work we put into it paid off,” she said.

As a junior, Rhodes won the national prize in the national August Wilson New Voices Monologue Competition sponsored by The League of Chicago Theatres performing a monologue by the character Ruby, mother of King, from Wilson’s “King Hedley II” play set in the decaying Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh in 1985. She received $3,000 in scholarship money and was the contest’s spokesperson for the 2023-24 season.

Rhodes will attend Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music in Berea, Ohio. She is the daughter of Linda and Warren Rhodes of Homewood.

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